Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Islamic Business Ethics

Handbook of Research on Islamic Business Ethics

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Abbas J. Ali

The complex relationship between society and business is vividly captured by ethical standards and obligations. This is especially pertinent in the Islamic world, where religion plays a key role in both social and commercial interactions. Many people see the presence or absence of ethical commitments as an indicator of whether business actors uphold their social responsibilities, and there is an increasing recognition of the significance of ethical value for business. This Handbook explores the interweaving relationship between Islamic business ethics and the market, and examines the critical role that ethics can play in ensuring that business thrives. By offering theoretical perspectives on research it goes beyond the conventional treatment of Islamic ethics, and asks what is important for the various market and social actors in the business world to behave in a morally responsible manner.

Chapter 14: Work ethics in GCC countries: current challenges and the road ahead

Yusuf M. Sidani

Subjects: business and management, international business


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) poses a unique case in the Muslim world (see Table 14.1 for some demographic and economic indicators). A group of six strategically located countries in the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – controls large amounts of wealth and access to natural resources (EIU, 2009). Those countries carry large reserves of oil and gas that have served their development agendas for the past several decades. The wealth of the GCC countries has created significant transformations in their economic and social structures. Local populations have become significantly wealthier, which has subsequently led to having a significant impact on their work attitudes and behaviors. This also means that scores of foreign labor, both at low-skill and high-skill levels, have been increasingly utilized at phenomenal rates. Gradually, local populations have exited the labor market in many industries preferring to concentrate on work in specific sectors (such as in the service sector or in the public domain, and so on). When considering the history of the GCC countries, one can note the vast transformations. At the turn of the twentieth century, these countries were dispersed communities that depended on agriculture, pearl diving and light trade for their livelihoods. Early Arabs had a low appreciation for craftsmanship and artisan work (Issawi, 1950) preferring instead involvement in trade and commercial activities. The Bedouin environment underscored the importance of communal cohesion.

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